Three years ago, he started all 16 regular-season games for a Vikings squad that made the playoffs.
Two years ago, he started just nine games as things fell apart for Ponder as he and the Vikings were exposed.
Last year, the Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater — signaling the end of the Ponder era. Ponder started just one game, in an emergency capacity, a 42-10 drubbing at Green Bay.
And now this year, he signed with the Raiders but was cut before the start of the season. His role now? The guy waiting by the phone for teams to call if they run into a QB shortage during the year. Already he’s reportedly had workouts set with the Cowboys and Titans. Neither team nabbed him.
Now? The Broncos, with Peyton Manning ailing, are reportedly set to put Ponder through a workout on Wednesday. Brock Osweiler, a 2012 second-round pick, started and played well last week. But the only other healthy QB on the Broncos’ roster is 2015 7th-round pick Trevor Siemian.
If Ponder is added for depth onto the Broncos roster and Osweiler winds up injured, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario by which Ponder would jump into the starter’s role as long as Manning was still hurt. It would be quite an upward leap for a QB who has really had nothing but a downward fall over the past few seasons.